3 Sep 2014
We have reached the portion of the Yankee season when hope is almost extinguished and columnists need to fill their blank spaces with something more than the same drivel day after day. So, we have the drumbeat of how the Yankees have to demote Jeter from the second spot in the lineup.
Let me start by saying that Jeter should not have been hitting second this year to begin with, but to pretend that switching the lineup now is gong to radically change things is silly. There is only about 16% of the season left and batting order is basically about dividing up playing time. Here are some numbers from 2009, in that year the average #2 spot in an AL lineup had 743 plate appearances. The 9th spot in the lineup had 618. That means that on average, the #2 spot came up 4.59 times a game and the #9 spot came up 3.81- a difference of 0.78 times a game. That means that over the final 26 games, hitting Jeter 9th (which the Yankees would never do) instead of 2nd would bring him to the plate 20 fewer times. Would those 20 plate appearances really change the fortunes of the team? And, 20 is the maximum. Dropping Jeter to sixth (a more likely outcome) would only reduce his plate appearances by about 10.
This is a team five-games out of a playoff spot. Thinking that a difference of 10 or 20 plate appearances will change that is foolish. Yes, Jeter shouldn’t be hitting second. But, that’s not what is going to cause the Yankees to miss the playoffs this year.